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New Star Trek’s now free on YouTube, but the bad news is it’s awful

We should be thrilled to have a new Star Trek series available to watch for free, but this one is so terrible that we're running as far away as possible.

New Star Trek - William Shatner as Captain Kirk

We’re always keen to celebrate new Star Trek here at The Digital Fix, and free Star Trek is even more exciting. Of course, every visit to the lovably muddled Star Trek timeline is a treat and we’ve watched the Star Trek movies in order more times than we can count, but even we have our limits.

It turns out that those limits are represented by the animated shorts released online this month to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek: The Animated Series, which became the first spin-off from one of the best TV series of all time in 1973.

We’re now two weeks into a run of five special ‘Very Short Treks’ on the franchise’s official YouTube channel. They might feature the best Star Trek characters, but they’re a long way from the sheer joy represented by the best sci-fi series and best Star Trek movies in this sprawling universe.

Casper Kelly, who made the super-viral and super-catchy Adult Swim short ‘Too Many Cooks’, served as creative consultant for the new movies, which aim to look at the sillier side of Trek.

The first short, Skin a Cat, follows one of the Star Trek captains as he repeatedly puts his foot in it by using idioms that offend the diverse members of the USS Enterprise crew.

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It’s reminiscent of the lazy viral internet humor of the noughties and, quite impressively, manages to hinge on a comedy concept not even strong enough to sustain a three-minute short.

The second, meanwhile, follows Spock – voiced by Ethan Peck, reprising the role he has played in live-action Star Trek series Discovery and Strange New Worlds – as he attempts to show funny clips at a party. But being logical above all else, he fails to understand what a blooper should be.

It’s a less egregious watch, but not by much. If only these ideas were as much fun as the classic animation style.

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And it’s not just us. Social media reaction to the shorts has been pretty savage, with Art of Trek writing on Twitter that the antholoyg series is “too surreal and too unfunny”. Another Trek fan was even more damning, tweeting: “It’s a massive shame that such great art and sound design has to be wasted on the worst scripts I have ever, ever seen.”

Ouch. But we have to agree. This is Trek, Jim, but not as we know it. And we desperately want to be beamed somewhere else. Anywhere else.

For more enjoyable Star Trek, look ahead to the Star Trek Discovery season 5 release date and the Star Trek Legacy release date. We’re also hoping for more of the best movies in the franchise, if the Star Trek 4 release date ever happens.

We’ve also explored how William Shatner saved Star Trek 3 from raging fire and why Wrath of Khan had to change title because of Star Wars. Or, try something completely different, and find out which Star Trek captains would survive a zombie movie.